WotC info part VI

Discussion in 'Games: CCG, TCG, and Boardgames' started by MJK_WotC, Mar 8, 2002.

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  1. MJK_WotC WotC Product Manager, Star Wars TCG

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    Feb 1, 2002

    So, if you?re reading this and it?s 9:00 PM on March 10th:

    *WHAT* Are You Doing?! Turn on your TV, the Clone War trailer?s on!! I can?t wait to read your reactions to this one, it?s gonna blow you away!
    In case you don?t already know, there?s some really good stuff in the latest issues of Inquest and Scrye magazines, in particular we have some pretty cool card images in print. The Scrye magazine even has the Jedi Knight?s Deflection (Battle Card) image on the cover. Inside you?ve got:

    Ground Unit ? ?Swoop Bike?
    Character Unit ? ?Jango Fett (c)?
    Battle Card ? ?Jedi Knight?s Deflection?
    Battle Card ? ?Ward of the Jedi?
    Mission Card ? ?Capture Obi-Wan?

    Plus there?s a good interview with Richard Garfield and our SWTCG Senior R&D Developer, Mike Elliott. Be sure to check it out!

    Now to answer some of this week?s questions:

    -Tournament-legal decks will consist of 60 cards. The 2-Player TCG gives the beginning player a quick, easy-to-learn introduction into the game. After that intro, they can bulk up that beginner deck with boosters and make it tourney-legal. The Starter Decks each have 40 cards in them, which gives a more advanced player an intermediate introduction into the game. It won?t take much to grab a few boosters and beef that up so it?s ready for tournaments.
    -I mentioned before that the $9.99 price for the Starter Decks is justified by having better cards in them than the 2-Player TCG has. Here?s the details: Each Starter Deck has 30 Commons, 8 Uncommons, and 2 Rares. The decks are fixed, but it?s a good way to grab some pretty powerful cards and get your first deck under way. Also, each deck features a holographic Uncommon *on top* of the 40-card set, so it actually adds up to 41 cards.
    -If you go back and look at the Unique Card section of the rulebook I sent out, it states that:

    ?You can?t put a unique card into a stack that already has the exact same version of that card. Example: You have a stack in battle that contains Chancellor Palpatine A. You can?t put another Chancellor Palpatine A into that stack. However, you could put a Senator Palpatine A into that stack?

    -There are 180 cards in the Attack of the Clones set. They are numbered 1-180, there are no 1b cards, 1c cards, etc.
    -Our yearly plans for the TCG are already pretty much fleshed out through the length of our contract with Lucasfilm. It is centered on 3 sets a year, with individual expansions ranging from 90 to 180 cards. Most of those releases focus on a Spring, Summer, and Fall timeframe. We have never considered a January release. We have never considered putting out 5 expansions a year.
    -We will feature a Mara Jade card in the Star Wars TCG, but not in the first year. The first year?s content features primarily Episode II, with our first classic era expansion coming out in November. We have not yet begun any negotiations with any models for Mara Jade or any other EU character. But we will. Soon.
    -There were some additional questions about unique cards, and how they will be treated when they are on opposing sides. This excerpt from the rulebook should help:

    Unique Units during Setup

    If you put a unique unit into battle during setup, you must follow certain rules to put the same unique unit into battle again later. First, it must be a different version of that unit. Second, you have to stack it with the other one. See ?Stacking during Setup? on p. 41 to learn how this works.

    If you put a unique unit into battle during setup, your opponent can put the same unique unit into battle on his or her side. Later, when the first battle phase occurs, those units will be contested.

    [B:] Contested Unique Units

    If both players have a particular unique unit in battle at any time during the battle phase, the 2 units are contested. (This usually happens only with neutral unique cards.)

    When units are contested, players bid Force to win the contest. The bidding starts at 0, and players can?t bid more Force than they currently have. The Dark Side player bids first, and he or she can r
  2. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    Thanks for the update!

    Couple questions though...


    1) "The starter deck has 30 Commons, 8 Uncommons, and 2 Rares." What about the two-player game's distribution?

    2) And if the starter decks are fixed, what makes the 8 Uncommons and 2 Rares "uncommon" and "rare"? Does that just refer to their rarity in the booster decks - or are they actually EVEN HARDER to find in the booster decks because they're so easy to find in the starter decks?

    Nit-picking, I know. :)

    3) Can you deploy a potentially contested unit during any turn - or just during setup?


    I have to say, I like the idea of contested characters - bidding for your favorite bounty hunter, struggling to tempt Anakin/Vader to the Dark Side or pursuade him back. Very cool.
  3. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    It seems to me that this is how the bidding thing works, using Anakin/Vader - who can apparently be contested, same as neutral bounty hunters:

    Let's suppose the following condition:

    * The Dark Side Player (DS) has a powerful Vader (a stack of three cards, top card build cost of 6) built and ready; he also has four unused Force points.

    * The Light Side Player (LS) has an Anakin card (build cost of 5) and also has four unused Force points.

    1. DS has his mighty Vader hanging out in the arena.

    <insert Vader-breathing sound effects here>

    2. The Light Side Player sends Anakin out into the arena - in an attempt to "pursuade the good side in Anakin/Vader to come out."

    "There's still good in him. I can feel it."

    (I imagine that contested cards generally occur during the setup phase, meaning that bidding usually occurs at the beginning of the battle phase.)

    3. DS's Vader stack is worth 8 (top card worth 6, the other two contribute 1 each), LS's Anakin is worth 5. If nobody bids anything, DS still wins, and so he bids nothing.

    "There is no conflict."

    4. LS has to outbid DS outright since he loses all ties, and he's at a disadvantage of 3, so he bids all 4 Force points.

    Now, if DS bids 1 Force point, he ties the bid (a win for the Dark Side), LS can't outbid him, and Vader stays on the board. If he passes on the bid, Vader merely retreats for the turn - and LS has lost ALL of his Force points in the process, which he could have used to play certain Battle Cards or use special abilities.

    As LS builds up Anakin, the two stacks become more equal, and it becomes a real bidding war: who wants his character in the arena MORE, and can one player bluff his way into getting his opponent to overbid and lose Force Points?

    For example, say later on in the battle, Anakin becomes more powerful, but DS has secretly developed an insidiously powerful Darth Maul. Anakin's in control of the arena, but DS sends out both Sith Lords.

    Vader contests Anakin.

    * If LS outbids DS, Vader retreats but LS might not have enough Force Points to save Anakin from Maul.

    * If DS outbids LS, Anakin retreats, and Vader and Maul have the arena to themselves; even with fewer Force Points, DS has an advantage.

    VERY, VERY INTERESTING.


    (And people thought this game would be boring... :D)
  4. Anakin_Solo73 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2001
    star 2
    This game has lost all of my interest. Vader vs. Anakin where you have to bid for that character to use him? That doesn't sound very interesting. The one thing about Decipher's game that is very interesting is the unique rule. For example, Lando. First to deploy him gets to use him (unless otherwise stated). That's better than lots of Landos running around every where then I have to bid to use him? A bid to use either the Darkside deck or the Lightside deck? It seems a lot of bidding is going on.

    A new Mara Jade? Even though Decipher's choice for Mara Jade appears on all offical Star Wars items such as the Databanks on the Offical site and on the Cover of the New Jedi Order book Rebirth.
  5. Darksbane Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2002
    star 1
    They didn't say they were getting a new Mara Jade they just said they have not discussed it yet.
  6. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    I think the bidding is a very good idea, at least on paper.

    * Contested cards at least means that if both sides have the same independent character, that the one who deploys first doesn't "shut out" the other player: the other player's card still has value.

    * For those who complained that the game didn't try to emulate the intricacies of Star Wars, bidding is a partial solution. Bounty hunters go for the highest price, and Anakin/Vader is torn between the Light Side and the Dark Side. Hunters aren't cheap, so they may cost you plenty in Force Points; and keeping Anakin on your side shouldn't be easy, and that TOO may cost you Force points.

    * For those who complained about dice rolling and other sources of randomness, bidding for the contested cards is completely deterministic: Dark Side bids first, and the bidding process is completely non-random. And the points used to figure out who wins (bid, build points, stack size) are all deterministic.

    * And for those who think the game is too simple, SURELY this is a good little wrinkle to add.

    Beyond that, it adds a bit of strategy. You can either spend Force Points and keep your card in play - or let the other do so, in the hope of hurting him we doesn't have Force Points to defend himself.

    The complaint that there will be "alot of Lando's" doesn't really hold up - a side is required to keep unique characters in a stack, so there's only a maximum of two. And, thanks to bidding, only one of those are in the battle at a time.

    And there are two replies to the fact that there will be too much bidding - which is, honestly, a genuinely valid concern:

    1. It looks like you only bid when one of the players actively chooses to cause a bidding situation.

    2. Bidding should be relatively quick. I doubt people will bid THAT much to be the Dark Side (and thus start off with big disadvantage, as you had to spend 10 Build Points, leaving you with 20 to the opponent's 30). And, bidding over contested cards should be quick. Take my original example:

    (Vader worth 8; Anakin worth 5.)
    * DS has the natural advantage, so he SHOULD pass.
    * LS has to beat any ties to win, so if he bids 3 or less, DS will pass AND win. He MUST bid 4 or more to be competitive.

    I imagine Force Points will be frequently used, so the bidding wouldn't continue that much further.

    To be honest, I can see how this could freak people out, but I suspect it'll play well. In the worst case, if you don't like, don't put in your deck any cards that can be contested. :)
  7. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    (Last post in this thread for a while - I promise. :D)

    Further, I hate that they may have to get a different actress for Mara, but the contract *may* have just been a few photos for Decipher that could also be used with LFL, and the rights to use her likeness in artwork. If new photos require a new contract, they may not be able to negotiate that second contract.

    (Though to be honest, I can't imagine that Shannon Baksa would reject a reasonable offer. Seriously - and no offense intended -it's not like she's moved on to bigger and better things.)

    Now, one more question for Michael:

    Any more specifics about constructing a deck? Are there different requirements for tournaments and non-tourney games?

    The reason I ask is that DeckTech.net has an article outlining the rules as they saw it from playing at a sneak showing at WotC, and *they* said the following:

    Deck Building Rules:
    No more than 4 of any specific card
    At least 12 units for each arena
    You cannot have more than twice the units devoted to one arena as you do another.
    At least 60 cards


    And...

    If you run out of cards in your draw deck you simply keep playing until you loose (sic) in the combat arenas.

    If BOTH of those are true, the one with the most cards would have an advantage if he can hold out until the end of the game - and that doesn't seem very logical.
  8. Bacabachaui Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    MJK,
    I went an reread all the stacking rules we have so far, and I have a question about contesting unique units.

    I notice use of the word "You" in the previously released "Unique Cards & Stacking" portion which says:"You can have only one of a particular unique unit in battle or retreated, no matter what version it is. For example, you can't have two Anakin Skywalkers in battle, or one Anakin in battle and another one retreated. If you do have two, and they're not stacked, discard the one you deployed most recently."

    This seems that "you", refers to player 1 only, because in the stacking during setup rules above you say:"If you put a unique unit into battle during setup, your opponent can put the same unique unit into battle on his or her side. Later, when the first battle phase occurs, those units will be contested."

    So does this mean,

    A) That both players can build and retreat or put the same unique unit into battle during any build phase throughout the game, which is later resolved through contesting?
    Or..
    B) It is only during that setup both opponents can put a unique unit into battle, which is later resolved through contesting?

    In both of the rules previews quotes, does the word "You" always apply to player 1 and "Your Opponent" apply to player 2?
    If the answer is yes, than scenario A above seems to apply.

    (I find myself wishing I had thought of this question earlier today when I was sitting in front of a computer earlier today reading this new info right after it was posted. :) )
  9. Bacabachaui Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    Now, one more question for Michael:

    Any more specifics about constructing a deck? Are there different requirements for tournaments and non-tourney games?

    The reason I ask is that DeckTech.net has an article outlining the rules as they saw it from playing at a sneak showing at WotC, and *they* said the following:

    Deck Building Rules:
    No more than 4 of any specific card
    At least 12 units for each arena
    You cannot have more than twice the units devoted to one arena as you do another.
    At least 60 cards

    And...

    If you run out of cards in your draw deck you simply keep playing until you loose (sic) in the combat arenas.

    If BOTH of those are true, the one with the most cards would have an advantage if he can hold out until the end of the game - and that doesn't seem very logical.


    I know you had this question for MJK, but I want to give it a shot. :)

    If both of the above rules are true as posted on Decktech (and I think they are), then that adds strategy in deckbuilding.

    If you put too many cards in your deck, you run the risk of making your draw deck too random, so you have to do the old cost/benefit analysis.

    If player 1 has a weak presence in battle and tons of cards in his draw deck than he may not neccesarily be able to hold out long enough against player 2 who has no cards in their draw deck, but a huge presence in battle. However, I am sure it is quite possible with some strategy, and then player 1 would win the game. So if there is no deck maximum, then deciding how many cards is too many will be a key element to deckbuilding.

    I think the rule about running out of cards is just covering all bases, stating that the win condition is not your opponent running out of cards (like SWCCG) but that only the result of actual battles would end the game.

    Now... that's more realistic in the Star Wars Universe. Winning because you did good in battle, not winning because your opponent ran out of resources.
  10. Ray Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2002
    star 1
    Has anyone here ever played Jyhad (Vampire) this silly contesting thing is pretty much lifted from Jyhad. Yes I know WOTC made both games. But don't let them fool you into thinking it's a new thing. I gues intstead of coming up with something new, they figured they could just re-hash a old idea. Oh well just had to chime in on this one being the big Jyhad player that I am.
  11. Bacabachaui Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    I don't think they were trying to fool anyone, nor did they make a claim it had never been done before. They only claim the game itself is unique. That is becasue although it has many elements from many other games, the way they are applied and work together in this game is very unique.

  12. Ray Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2002
    star 1
    Understood, but claiming that something is unique, but having it made up of other parts strikes a discord to my ear. Again maybe it's just me. And I am still not trying to say anything bad about the game. After all I can't judge it before it's out. But I might also be a tad biased .... being a SW:CCG fan and all. Ah well I gave my two cents for what they are worth.
  13. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    As far as I know (and I admittedly know very little about trading card games), creating a character stack is unique. At the very least, I haven't heard anyone yet say, "I saw the same thing in Game X."

    But even IF every single aspect of the game is lifted from other games, the combination may be unique (as Baca pointed out), and the overall experience may be a good one.

    Game makers can either try something new or use an established method. Unless the developers have a really killer new idea - something that REALLY, REALLY works - I'd just as soon they use an older, proven idea that's known to work.

    And it *looks* like the decisions they're making are being made with the players in mind. Collectors like rare cards and players like to stand a good chance to find the good cards - and I doubt either group likes dealing with too many different rarity types. Thus, there are only four levels of rarity (counting the holographic foils) and the hardest to find are merely holographic duplicates of the cards.

    More important to this discussion, people like having familiar characters, so variants appear to be abundant. Many games only allow one variant at a time; this one lets you stack four of them. And many games prevent both players from the using the same character; this one turns that character into one more thing to be fought over.

    So, even if the game is not entirely orignal, it certainly seems like a good one.

    Beyond all that, this my first CCG, so it's new to me either way. :)

    Returning to Baca's reply to my question, padding your deck does seem like a bad idea in that you'e less likely to draw good cards. BUT, let's say you have a good 40 or 50 distinct cards (where you have one capital ship rather than a fleet of the same four fighters, etc.).

    In that case, according the rules provided by DeckTech, you could simply pad your deck with three duplicates of each good card, creating a deck of 160-200 cards with very little risk of getting bad draws. (The only time you'd get a bad draw is if the exact same card was already in play - in which case, you wait until that card is killed and deploy its doppleganger.)

    I REALLY don't like the possibility of such tactics. Either there will be a few who go to the trouble (and expense) to get such huge decks and will be able to outlast a shootout - or EVERYONE will get the huge decks, which will merely draw out the shootouts without adding more substantive gameplay.

    My thoughts? The natural solution is a firm limit on the number of cards in your deck.
  14. Darksbane Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2002
    star 1
    lol sorry Bubba but trust me a 150-200 card deck will not work without MASSIVE card drawing. Take it from a long time ccg player of 7 years. Since you only draw 1 card per turn you will never draw the ones you need.
  15. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    Yeah, but the deck of 200 cards would be the same 50 cards 4 times over.

    Even taking a more reasonable example - just two of each card in your deck. That brings the number up from, say, 60 to 120. That's MORE than enough to outlast someone who only has 60 or 70 cards - and most of the draws would be either a new card, a duplicate of a card that's already discarded, or a duplicate of a card where you CAN have more of the same type (fighters, capital ships). Only a few will be duplicates of unique cards, and even then, they'll eventually become useful.

    I admit, even that more reasonable example may be unrealistic, but I still think that the rule can be exploited to the detriment of the overall game.

    Either way, a good question to pose. :)
  16. Ray Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2002
    star 1
    Here I am again :p

    Young Jedi for big D used character stacking. So again it's not a truly new idea. Sorry to be so negitive but I just can't help but point these things out.

    Again I think WOTC is just trying to strong arm it's way into a market that it has no right to be in. SW:CCC was and always will be a great game, SW:TCG all I can say is that if I wanted a dice game I would go play Warhammer 40k .... anywho thats just my thoughts I could be wrong
  17. Achtung_Bubba Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 1
    "Again I think WOTC is just trying to strong arm it's way into a market that it has no right to be in."

    No offense, but which market would that be?

    Card games? They created Magic: The Gathering.

    Star Wars? Well, they do publish the Insider.

    I'm not sure I follow.
  18. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    Character "stacking" in TCG is not even remotely similar to Young Jedi. In TCG speed values are more or less fixed, whereas in YJ the battle order is random. "Stacked" characters in TCG simply add marginal values to the existing card, whereas in YJ they're an almost entirely different card.
  19. KCarnes Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2002
    star 1
    Ray - You say that you are "(s)orry to be so negative but I just can't help but point these things out." If you are so bent out of shape about the new SW TCG, you don't have to play it or feel obligated to even comment on it...

    As for WotC not having a right to be in the "market" (whatever that means), that is just a ridiculous statement, since they kind of kicked of the entire ccg genre with Magic.

    It just seems to me that there might be more than a "tad bias" in your commentary.
  20. Darksbane Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2002
    star 1
    "Yeah, but the deck of 200 cards would be the same 50 cards 4 times over."

    True but in order to have the same frequency of drawing a specific card you would then have to quadruple the number of that card in your deck. Since you can only have four of a specific card in your deck this is just not reasonable.


    "Even taking a more reasonable example - just two of each card in your deck. That brings the number up from, say, 60 to 120."

    True, but here is what you are not considering. Games will not last 100 turns. In fact I would be suprised if they last 15 turns. Thus, anyone with a 60 card deck will find the cards they need to win twice as fast as someone who has a 120 card deck.

    Lets take some concrete examples though.
    Card A is a good unit but will not win you the game by its self
    Card B is a good battle card but will not win you the game by its self
    When you get card A and B at the same time you have a very powerful combination which gives you a good chance at winning the game. You build two decks. The first is a 60 card deck which uses 4 each of Card A and B. You use 4 of each because this is the max you can use and it gives you the greatest chance of drawing both cards. With this setup you have a 1 in 15 chance of drawing card A or B, and for each card you draw your chances get alittle better. We will just say that you should draw one of each within 15 turns though to make it easy. Then you make a 120 card deck also using 4 copies each of both A and B. This instead gives you a 1 in 30 chance of drawing A or B, thus you should draw both in 30 turns. As you can see from the example the 60 card deck will produce the cards needed to win 2 times as fast as the 120 card deck. Now you are correct in that if the 120 card deck can last until the 60 card deck has run out of cards it will have a greater chance of winning, however, the 60 card deck has a better chance of finding the cards it needs to win first giving it a better chance at winning sooner.

    "I admit, even that more reasonable example may be unrealistic, but I still think that the rule can be exploited to the detriment of the overall game. "

    I really wouldn't be too concerned. Once you have played a few games it should become really clear that a 120 card deck or even a 80 card deck will lose almost all the time to a tuned 60 card deck. I have never seen a CCG in the almost 15 I have played where a deck bigger than ~10 cards over the minimum wins often enough to be tourniment worthy. This game might be able to field 70 card decks which work well given the large number of cards it is possible to go through in the setup but any more than that and your deck is likely worse than it would be if it is smaller. The only way large decks are viable in most CCG's is with a huge amount of card drawing with little resources used to do the drawing.

    Sorry if this doesn't make any sense :) It's 3 AM where I am and I am half asleep ;)

    Darksbane

  21. Bacabachaui Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    RE:"Young Jedi for big D used character stacking. So again it's not a truly new idea."

    Like already said in response to this comment, stacking in YJ is so different that it is in SWTCG, that the word takes on two different meanings. Stacking in SWTCG provides a lot more benefits.
    1)Every card in the stack adds 1 to power, health, and 10 to speed. This alone can have a HUGE effect in the outcome of one battle.
    2)Each card has separate abilities. You can move whichever card you need to the top in the command phase for a price.
    3)Stacking cards in the setup phase in a certain order means you can get high cost characters out cheaper, since you only pay "one" for each new card on the stack, play the lowest cost casrd first, then stack the higher cost ones (2-3 higher cost) for only one. In the game build phases, you only pay "the difference plus one" if it is higher or just "one" if it is equal or less.
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